I'll Sink Manhattan

From This Might Be A Wiki

song name I'll Sink Manhattan
artist They Might Be Giants
releases They'll Need A Crane (EP), Don't Let's Start (LP), Miscellaneous T, Then: The Earlier Years, Podcast 46
year 1988
first played June 17, 1988 (30 known performances)
run time 2:32
sung by John Flansburgh


  • Flansburgh: "This song is about falling in love, and then falling out of love with that person, and then killing everyone in Manhattan." (At a concert on November 11, 1989)
  • Linnell: "A song about a guy who somehow figures out how to sink the island of Manhattan just to kill his ex-lover, so it's his apology to the other people he's gonna kill in between. He's just gotta do it!" (NME Magazine, March 11, 1989)
  • The title of this song came from lamppost graffiti, and it turned out to be the name of a band, although Flansburgh didn't know it at the time he wrote the song. Apparently the band didn't appreciate Flans using their name. However, it's likely that this band had adapted their their name from elsewhere in popular culture, perhaps from the 1986 Judith Krantz novel (or its 1987 TV adaptation) I'll Take Manhattan, perhaps from the refrain "I'll take Manhattan" in some renditions of the classic Rodgers & Hart song "Manhattan".
  • The unusual vocal sample in the introduction of the song is a message left on Dial-A-Song (back when it was taking messages) by a member of the New York Police Department, played backwards. When played normally, it says: "Thanks a lot guys. From the NYPD. We love you." In the Spring '94 Info Club booklet, Flansburgh said, "since the song had a New York theme, it seemed relevant". The unreversed sample is archived here.

Song Themes

Backwards, Bad English, Cities, Criminal Activities, Death, Fire, Forgetting, Remembering, Friendship, I've Got A, Love Gone Sour, New York City, No, Not In 4-4 Time, Oblique Cliches Or Idiom, Plans, Rhymes, Sea, Size, Songs With Samples, Telecommunication


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I'll Sink Manhattan is currently ranked #427 out of 900. (71 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.24)